JJ is the classic black sheep in her family. While Mom, Dad, and big brother are all proud lawyers, JJ longs to make it in the music business. It’s 1963, so this is a very different endeavor that it would be today. But it’s one that the author, Cynthia Weil, has more than enough authority to write about. With her songwriting partner and husband, Barry Mann, Weil has composed songs for artists as diverse as Dolly Parton, The Drifters, The Ronettes, and The Animals. Thus JJ’s experiences in I’m Glad I Did form a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the music business, as it existed fifty years ago.
One of the many songs Weil and Mann wrote, along with Phil Spector, is the wildly successful “You’ve Lost That Lovin’Feeling,” made famous by The Righteous Brother’s recording in 1964. The duo that comprised the group, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, are not brothers. As the story goes, the group’s name came about after a performance, when a Marine in the audience called out, “That was righteous, brothers!”
Their sound is beautiful and distinctive. It’s Medley who sings that rich baritone, so perfectly harmonized with Hatfield’s soaring tenor. They sing with such emotion that their bluesy sound has been dubbed “blue-eyed soul.” Their version of “Unchained Melody” exploded in popularity after it was featured in the 1990 movie, Ghost. But it is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” that was ranked as the number one most-played song on the radio in the 20th century.
Diane Colson, currently reading an advance readers copy of Alive by Chandler Baker.
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